What Kinds of Lists do you Use?

listplanitMay 16, 2007

I make at least 2 lists a day, I'll bet! Mostly the lists are either to organize my day or for meal preparation. But I also have a home business (which is actually devoted to lists) and I usually have to make at least 1 list a day for that. I have a notebook full of pages of lists and I have a binder filled with my more "permanent" lists. Do I have any List Sisters out there?


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But of course! I keep a general running list titled ''Inch by Inch'' and ''Yard by Yard''. The Inch list are jobs that can be done in 15 minutes or less; the Yard list takes longer. Sometimes I have to break down the Yard list into Inches!

There's the grocery list on my blackboard that seems to start immediately after I've unloaded the last bag of shopping. My monthly calendar holds appointments/goals for the day. I make lists when I'm designing something, usually starting with what isn't working, since that's never hard to figure out. Right now I have a Purge list of items I want to include in my next yard sale, along with the location so I don't have to create clutter while I'm weeding things out.

What I find most satisfying about having a list is wiping it off the chalkboard, crossing off an item or throwing it away!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 9:13AM
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I have a bound journal book that I devote to to-do lists and handy info (dimensions for items I'm currently on the prowl for, etc.). I've been doing this for about 20 years. I take this book with me in the car, etc. These lists include daily tasks, project organization, materials to purchase or gather.

I have a Master List for home renovation projects that I started 11 years ago when we first moved in. It's organized by room as well as home exterior and landscaping/gardening. It's amazing all of the things we've crossed off. More disturbing is how many tasks we have yet to do! It keeps us focused on what's next. I could never keep all these things in my head.

My husband used to carry around slips of paper with his daily to-do list until I showed him my notebook. He's been using his own notebook for many years now.


    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 9:54AM
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I tend to only have a list of a single day's tasks.

I wanted to keep a master list for bigger projects (or littler ones that I don't want to do right now but might if I found myself with an extra 45 minutes), butI haven't yet.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 9:59AM
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I have a household notebook where I keep master lists of home projects, etc. For shopping lists or any lists which will involve my needing them while I'm away from home, I have begun to put them on the Cozi Central calendar on my computer. My grocery list and other shopping type lists are there, and I can text them directly from the site to my cell phone which I always have with me.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 10:00AM
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Lists here too. Some have been around for years (big reno projects) and some are just for the day.

My favorite list I keep in my Palm pilot for traveling. Broken down into planning, arrangements, errands, closing up house, packing etc. I copied and tweaked and have a different list for different types of trips: plane vs motorcycle vs winter getaway vs cabin, etc. Everything from packing an emery board to stopping the mail & newspaper is on there. Check off items as I go. So much less stressful than trying to remember 138 things/items. Now I don't even think - just work the list.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 2:46PM
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Another lister here. I keep my daily/weekly chores in a card file but find it helpful to write it all down on a list anyway. A lot of times just the act of writing the list is inspiring; it makes me break down jobs into bits, think of new ways to do things, helps me to group my errands, etc.

I do have a master list that I look at from time to time, and I usually find that there are at least a few items I can cross off - amazing!

Right now I'm in a list making frenzy - I'm giving 3 parties in the next two weeks!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 4:14PM
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Another list-o-mane here, too.

I make daily lists I carry around in my pocket, and cross off as completed; sometimes anticipating the pleasure of being able to cross it off gets me through the last hump of a job.

I have running lists in all categories (work, home farm, household, and all sub-groups like laundry or woodlot management) of larger projects, and regularly make new lists by the week, month, season and year as it seems appropriate.

However, I have come to a point where I do not permit myself to be tyranized by my lists as I was when younger. I use the list(s) more as creative planning and organizing tools than as actual assignment sheets (excepting the daily lists). But even daily lists are more my hopes for what to do during the day rather than strict taskmasters. I find life too short and unpredictable to work myself into a lather when too few things get crossed off. A key thing I try to do is not simply move stuff from one uncompleted daily list to another. I itemize each day's tasks de novo, and if something undone one day isn't important enough to make the second day's agenda on its own merits, so be it. It seems as though I always have at least two day's worth of stuff on my daily list.

I write my medium and long term lists in one of several notebooks, but my daily lists are written on those heavy stock magazine subscription inserts (magazine dandruff) that flutter out of every mag these days. I just use a Sharpie to write right over whatever is printed; the paper hangs tough through a hard day, and there isn't enough white space to get too compulsive. I enjoy repurposing that otherwise wasted woodpulp.

I have a longer term project in the works to write a set of instructions for how to manage various home and farm tasks that come up seasonably. My notion is to pass on to myself what shortcuts and standards I work out for various seasonal tasks as I go through the year. An example: we have to clear the roofs of snow with roof rakes, and every year it takes a couple of storms for me to remember what order of march works the best. It does save trouble to do it in a particular order (which roof leaf, which part of the house, which porch overhang, etc.). So I've been trying to write it down, so I don't have to learn it all over again the following year. What I envision is sort of a private book of home reminders.


    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 10:16PM
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Daily lister here too!

Separate ones for shopping ---- plus specialized ones that are created as needed for tasks and projects.

Could NOT keep that info in my head !!! LOL!


    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 11:09PM
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As a former teacher who relied on a planner throughout the day, I could not operate without lists.

My lists are at various "levels" since I need to break things down into baby steps. This way, for me, they are more manageable and less overwhelming.

1) I maintain master "checklists" (that are used repeatedly ie Vacation Packing List, Before-Company checklist, Seasonal checklists, Room Rescue for the kids and that sort) in WORD documents and print them off as the occasion arises.

2) I keep an ongoing list in a notebook. I call this list OMM or MCL (On My Mind or Mind Clutter List, probably courtesy of Pam/Peggy Young or Julie Morgenstern.) Some of these items never get done (as in wishful thinking). Some get highlighted if they are time-sensitive. No "categories" here, just a run-on list of things that pop into my mind. I might reference something here too, such as: "5/16 DS owes me $20 for video game" (he asked me to pick up). This gets highlighted. And it is put on this list since it is a long-term list (as opposed to Weekly or Daily lists that get thrown away.)

3) Each Sunday I print a Week-at-a-Glance "Schedule/To Do" list. This is in a "table" format, and I fill in necessary tasks that apply to this week, i.e. Take Mom to dentist (on Tuesday), Drop off rummage sale items to church (on Thursday), budget for PTA due (on Friday). mail brother's birthday card (on Saturday). There is space on the bottom to add "Notes" i.e. "owe neighbor 2 cups of sugar" and other items I'd like to get to this week, but not necessarily time-sensitive. I also have a separate "text box" that features Cards/Gifts I need to purchase this month. Creating this list takes all of 10 minutes since it is a saved word document printed off - then I hand-write details as they come up during the week. I use a Palm Pilot from which the information above is generated. (Might seem redundant to some, but the teacher in me likes the actual pen/paper approach. The PP is very handy for maintaining family schedules; another benefit is that I always have it with me.) This is what works for me, and is not time-consuming at all, since it's just a matter of tweaking or transferring week-to-week. My most recent "improvement" at this level is to keep this list on a clipboard and include any *time-sensitive* papers that need attention this week i.e. summer registration forms need to be filled out, a list of dates that I can renew pool passes, a proposal that is being considered, that sort of stuff. The clipboard also helps this list from getting "lost" if mail or school papers are set on top of it.

4) Each DAY I hand-write a list of things I want/need to accomplish based on information at the Weekly level, and it is at this stage only that I might include the everyday mundane stuff like laundry, decluttering, clean litter box, put air in tires, local errands, what to cook for dinner (aka Am I cooking dinner?) -- stuff that is very specific to the needs of this particular day, things that might even be flexible but I WANT to commit to. Many of these items are repeated almost daily, and so they might appear on the next day's list again, depending on what the next day dictates, schedule-wise. But these daily tasks do not "appear" at the Weekly level, since most of them are a "given".

Grocery Lists are kept on a tear-off pad on the fridge. Other "shopping" items might be added to the OMM/MCL list from which I would make a separate shopping list when needed. We go to Costco once in a while, mostly for household items. As we are running low on these we note it on the kitchen calendar (in a spare grid at the beginning or end of the month).

Hope this is helpful to some!


    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 9:55AM
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My notion is to pass on to myself what shortcuts and standards I work out for various seasonal tasks as I go through the year.

I think this is a great idea!

I used to organize the Birthday Party for Jesus at church, and after the first one, I made a set of instructions and observations for the next year. By the 4th year, we had a good amount of intelligence--what games worked, how many hot dogs to buy, all kinds of stuff.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 10:42AM
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I always forget WHICH notebook I wrote certain things in, then I find every one and have to go through page by page to see if I can find what I am looking for. It is quite defeating!
I need a better way of making lists.
Has anyone found a good online source for printing master lists that REALLY work?
I know you have to actually use them. I can do that, I just need some quidance!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 5:49PM
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Slahgirl, Since you asked, www.listplanit.com has over 200 lists, checklists, and planning pages in subjects such as business, contacts, family, finance, home, holidays, kitchen, personal, planner, student, and travel with detailed instructions right on the site for how to put together your own binder after you've printed out all of the lists you love!!! If you have any questions you can email me at jennifer@listplanit.com

Here is a link that might be useful: List Plan It, LLC

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 6:13PM
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I write tasks on post-it notes and a stick them in a standard notebook . Any post-it that doesn't get completed moves to the next day. Tasks I do repeatedly move along. Unusual tasks,that get done once and for all, such as "phone plumber" get torn up after completing. I like to see as few notes as possible on a page. I started this system last December when I was swamped by the holidays.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 9:24PM
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MNy mom used to write out daily "to Do" lists, back in the sixties. She was a SAHM, school volunterer with four kids. I kidded her about this. She would list simple things like "take shower" and "eat lunch".

    Bookmark   May 24, 2007 at 8:19PM
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